The Israelis are expert at 4th Generation Wars. This style of war, which focuses on changing the mental orientation of opponents, is normally dangerous for state powers. France lost 4G Wars in Vietnam and Algeria, while the United States was previously set back in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia.
Yet the Israelis are the exception. With a patience often associated with non-state actors, the Jewish State destroyed the nationalist-secularist Palestine Liberation Organization. Exploiting internal divisions among the Palestinian population originally seen during the First Intifada in 1987, Jerusalem began increasing the moral, mental, and physical isolation of the PLO. The first major attack was the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, a controversial move to delegitimize the PLO by removing its reason for being. Low intensity war (with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat repeatedly maneuvered into the role of the senseless aggressor) waged for more than a decade, with Israel ever working to isolate the PLO from its tools for power.
David’s Patient Nation
Israeli Victory came on January 25, 2006, when Hamas (a spin-off of the technocratic-fundamentalist Muslim Brothers) trounced the PLO’s main political party, Al-Fatah, in free Palestinian elections.
It appears that Israel is using a similar strategy to build victory in Lebanon. Israel recognizes that isolation leads to defeat, so she attempts to maximize her connectivity while minimizing the connectivity of her enemy, Hezbollah. In particular, Israel is attempting to maximize Hezbollah’s physical disconnectivity. Israel’s airstrikes against roads and bridges that lead to Syria are widely recognized, but attacks on infrastructure by themselves could not do much. There is no “systempunkt” — the mythical list of physical infrastructure targets that can permanently destroy an enemy — so Israel instead focuses on changing the long-term correlation of forces.
Behind the scene diplomacy by Israel and her lobbies forced the military expulsion of Syria from Lebanon. Indeed, Dawlat Israil is turning the security situation of Lebanon on its head, from a Hezbollah-friendly state in the Syrian orbit to a country that faces a French anti-Hezbollah invasion. That prospect was viewed by some as impossible when it was first floated last year, but momentum is building.
In summary, Israel is destroying Hezbollah just like she destroyed the PLO: patiently. Israel is excelling at dual-use attacks, not just degrading Hezbollah’s firepower in the short-term but changing the facts on the ground that allow Hezbollah to thrive in the long-term.